Day 21: We had now been on a tour of Western Canada for 3 weeks and the “Vancouver Island” part was almost over. That day we sailed with the ferry from Vancouver Island over the Strait of Gorgia to Horseshoe Bay. From Horseshoe Bay it was still a 1.5 hours drive to Cultus Lake Provincial Park. I had reserved a camping place where we would spend our last night, but before we left, Eli wanted to fish again on Miracle Beach. When I woke up, he was already at the beach. It was nice weather that Friday and we were in no hurry to catch the ferry. Only at 12.15 pm our boat left for Horseshoe Bay and we had to be there the latest at 11.45 am
Vancouver Island Ferry
After everyone had breakfast and cleaned up everything, we left at 9.45 am. The total distance Miracle Beach - Cult Lake via the Ferry Vancouver Island (Nanaimo-Horseshoe Bay) was 260km / 162mi. In fact, the time on the way to the ferry (Departure Bay) was too tightly calculated. We were lucky that there was no traffic jam along the way, otherwise we would never have reached the ferry at 12.15 pm. In the beginning we enjoyed the ride and the beautiful surroundings. All the time we drove along 19A along the water and through cozy villages, refueled at an old gas station and lost track of time. Just in time, we arrived at 11.40 on the ferry and were able to join. The check-in procedure begins one hour before departure to half an hour before departure, so check-in went until 11.45 am.
Restaurant on board
The price for a ferry crossing from BCFerries (one way) for an 25 foot long camper came at 148,25 $ CAD. Do not forget to close the propane gas before you enter the ferry. Driving in from Vancouver Island went smoothly again. This time we had lunch on the boat and the prices were very good. You can eat a hot or cold dish. The restaurant on the ferry looks a bit like a fast food restaurant. Apparently we were not the only ones who had the same idea and because we did not immediately go to the restaurant it was even longer. After lunch we enjoyed another hour on the deck of the Vancouver Island ferry, from where you could see the city of Vancouver.
Traffic jam from Horseshoe Bay to Cultus Lake
By 2 pm we arrived on the mainland and almost immediately got stuck in the Friday traffic jam. I thought that the traffic jams would start at 4 pm and that we would have been lying in Cultus Lake for a long time already. Not so. It was not a small traffic jam, but one until we took the exit on Highway 1 past Abbotsford. This was really a setback. We arrived around 4.30 pm Cultus Lake and immediately ran out off the camper and went swimming. To get to the water of Cultus Lake, you had to cross a busy road and a parking lot. There is a beach with a pier from where you can easily get into the water. The temperature of the water could be better, but was ok.
Not comparable with the temperature of the water in Wells Gray National Park when I went looking for Eli's fish plug that got stuck in the ice-cold water. Once you were in the water, it was fine. After half an hour of swimming we still had to cook, make the suitcases and clean the camper. The next day the RV was handed in at Traveland in Langley and we were there expected before 12 pm. We all had the feeling that the roadtrip had been long enough. The journey did not have to last longer. Certainly the kids wanted to go home to see their friends and also to sleep in their own bed again.
Traveland RV Center in Langley BC
Day 22: The next day we had to empty the gray and black tanks and top up with water. On the grounds of Cultus Lake Provincial Park, they did not have a dump station and had to drive several miles to Maple Bay. Traveland RV Rentals in Langley was only 60 km from Cultus Lake, but feared traffic jams again because we had to drive again via part of highway 1. It was Saturday and traffic was not too bad. After our exit you could see traffic jams again and I was happy that we could get off the highway. At 11.45 we turned into Traveland's parking lot.
Hand in Camper at Traveland RV Rentals
I immediately saw that we were not alone in handing in the camper. First we unloaded the suitcases and put them in the Traveland office. The children could keep busy with the Traveland bib and while I put the leftover food in a rack, Jessica cleaned up inside the camper. I had another 10 tin beer cans left over and put them on the rack, because you could not take them to Belgium anyway. First of all, the suitcases were already at their limit weight and secondly it was not that good beer. When I put the second load from the camper on the rack the cans were already gone! As I wrote earlier, beer is very expensive in Canada.
Extra costs at Traveland RV Rentals
When the camper was cleaned and tidy, I went to ask for an inspection. I had already called Traveland during our trip to ask how much the repair would cost of the broken valve (little door) of the water supply. They could not answer me then on the phone and even now there was still to be called to the repair company, which could replace the door. I thought they were going to leave it by that, but Manuel said that he would later send me the invoice (206 $ CAD) through email. I actually felt that it was also the manufacturer's fault. With other models it is not possible that the little door breaks if you refill water and the sun canopy retracts at the same time. By opening the cover to the other direction this would never have happened. I was not told about that when I got the tour.
Just in time for the flight
At the start of the trip I paid a deposit of 600 $ CAD and later they deducted the costs (cover) from that deposit and refunded the rest to my account. Other than that, I don't have many comments about the company. Everything was in good condition, but you can expect that at this rental price, I think. You can see the models of the campers on their website . After everything was checked and signed, we were taken to the airport by a private taxi. Our Lufthansa flight left at 4 pm and was again just in time. Because we had to change the clock 9 hours on the plane, we spent a large part of the day 23 in the air.
Western Canada & Vancouver Island
Our road trip through Western Canada & Vancouver Island was one of the most beautiful journeys we made and can not be compared with any other trip. British Columbia was for us a part of the world that we had not yet seen. Alberta sometimes resembles Switzerland or Austria, but has its own atmosphere that you do not have there. Especially the beautiful Provincial and National parks are worthwhile to see when travelling to Alberta.
What appealed to us most was Vancouver Island. In my opinion, Vancouver Island has everything. You will find mountains for hiking (or for skiing), beautiful rain forests and high waterfalls to the most beautiful unspoilt coasts in the world. One of Western Canada's greatest assets is its expanses of unspoiled nature and wildlife. We saw ospreys, caribou, moose, mountain goats, black bears, coyotes, deer, jumping salmon, wapiti and much other wildlife. It was wonderful to be able to admire all these still living animals from a reasonable distance in their natural environment. When you see this you realize that a zoo should be forbidden.
Devide the Road trip
If I would do the tour again, I would split the trip. I think it would be better to make a 2 weeks tour on Vancouver Island and one of 3 weeks through BC (mainland) and Alberta. The "problem" is that the flights to Western Canada from Europe are so very expensive in peak season. That is why we opted for the more intensive and slightly longer tour. Had I known how beautiful and versatile Vancouver Island was, I would probably have chosen for the first option. I would have liked to stay a little longer in the area around Tofino and Ucluelet. There are still many beautiful walks that we would have liked to make.
Tired but satisfied
When we were back it took some time for us to rest. It was probably partly due to the hour difference (9u) with BC, but it was also due to the intensity of our travel schedule. When we were home for a while and looked back on the tour we had made with the children, we decided to make the next trip at a "slightly" slower pace. The following summer vacation is going to Javea in southern Spain, which we have captured this week. We are skipping for a year (or two), but I am certainly looking forward to our next trip to perhaps the beautiful Vancouver Island again. If you have any questions, please leave a message at the bottom of the responses.